Following Stanford's second conference loss last weekend, No. 5 Oregon became the clear front-runner to win the Pac-12 North.
Someone forgot to tell that to Arizona.
The Wildcats took some notes from the Cardinal playbook on Saturday, out-muscling the Ducks on both sides of the ball en route to a dominant 42-16 win.
Ka'Deem Carey ran the ball 48 times for 206 yards and four touchdowns and B.J. Denker was nearly perfect, completing 19-of-22 throws for 178 yards and two scores, while also running for 102 on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, the Ducks' high-powered defense wasn't completely stifled. They were able to tally 506 total yards, but ineffectiveness on third (six of 12) and fourth downs (one of three), bad mistakes and three turnovers kept them from fully capitalizing on the scoreboard.
Playing in front of a fired-up crowd at Arizona Stadium on Senior Day, the Wildcats pulled a bit of an "Oregon" out of the gate—starting with this interception after unbelievable teamwork from Shaq Richardson and Scooby Wright:
The 'Cats proceeded to march right down the field thanks to a heavy dose of Carey, who eventually punched it in from six yards out for the first score of the game. After a rare Oregon three-and-out, Arizona used another methodical drive—10 plays, 59 yards—to double the lead.
After Oregon kicked a field goal and Denker and Marcus Mariota exchanged touchdown throws, it appeared as though the Wildcats would enter the locker room with a 21-9 advantage after the Ducks missed a two-point conversion following Mariota's TD pass.
But a Ducks failed fourth-down attempt with a minute remaining in the second quarter gave the ball back to the 'Cats, who went 59 yards in 42 seconds to build its lead to 19 points before halftime.
Following a few punts, Carey found the end zone again late in the third quarter, and the blowout was officially on.
As evidenced in their game against Stanford, though, the Ducks are never really out of a game. But after Mariota connected with Josh Huff for a score, the Wildcats went back to Carey and took the air out of the ball to seal the victory.
To make matters worse for Oregon, whose Pac-12 title hopes are all but gone, Mariota threw a late interception and took a knee to the head while attempting to make a tackle.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon: B
Well, if Mariota's Heisman hopes weren't fully demolished a couple of weeks ago against Stanford, this performance likely put the final nail in the coffin.
That's not to say the sophomore quarterback was bad. He compiled 360 total yards (308 through the air, 52 on the ground) and suffered from some dropped passes by his teammates.
But he wasn't good enough. He threw two interceptions (his first INTs of the season), missed some throws and fumbled on a fourth down.
B.J. Denker, Arizona: A
It's been a bit of an up-and-down season for Denker, but the former junior college transfer put forth a performance he will never forget—and he did it against a Top Five team.
Not only was he nearly perfect in the pass game, completing 86.4 percent of his throws for 8.1 yards per toss, but he made plays with his legs, as well, running for 7.3 yards per carry.
De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon: B+
It was a pretty miserable day all around for the Ducks, but the blame certainly shouldn't be placed on Thomas.
The electric junior had one bad play where he lost 12 yards trying to make something happen, but even with that loss of yardage, he finished with 83 yards on 16 carries. He was also his typical dangerous self in the pass game, leading the Ducks with six catches and 74 yards.
DAT has struggled to make an impact since returning from an injury sustained in October, but he finally looked healthy on Saturday, making some truly dynamic plays in space.
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona: A+
If there was something better than "A+" then Carey would get it.
Usually when players get an absurd 48 carries in one game, they are going to wear down as the game progresses. Not Carey. He was punishing in the first quarter, and he was explosive in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats needed to eat the clock.
On Arizona's 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that "officially" put the game away, Carey had nine carries. And that was essentially the recipe for every Arizona drive.
The junior may be a longshot in the Heisman race, but he certainly deserves to be in the conversation.
The Ducks have a short week before hosting Oregon State in the newest chapter of the Civil War on Friday, while Arizona goes to Tempe to face No. 17 Arizona State in a rivalry game of its own.